Despite a number of canteens in the European Parliament, Sylwia Spurek has to bring her own lunchbox to work.
Thats because the new Polish member of the European Parliament is a vegan. When she tried to get a meal in July, she found the only option available to her was a plate of French fries and some salad.
The 43-year-old from the Socialists and Democrats group is trying to shake the Parliament from the inside and make the vegan food option available for its employees and visitors. On September 18, she sent a letter to the Parliaments Secretary-General Klaus Welle, in which she asks about the food policy of the Parliament and how the tenders for catering are carried out.
“The majority of food offered in the canteens in the EU is the food based on … meat-originated products. Its meat, milk products, eggs. As a vegan, I can clearly see the lack of vegan products,” she said in an interview.
The letter stresses that “vegans working in the European Parliament or visiting it most often are unable to provide themselves with a nutritious meal during their work or visit.”
“Taxpayers dont pay me to go around the city to vegan restaurants” — MEP Sylwia Spurek
Spurek added that in Brussels she can sometimes go out to nearby restaurants. In Strasbourg, leaving the Parliament premises and searching for a vegan restaurant in the city center would take her more than an hour and a half.
“Taxpayers dont pay me to go around the city to vegan restaurants. Taxpayers pay me to work efficiently — thats why the food available on the premises of the Parliament should be the food adjusted to different diets and dietary requirements, in a way that every member of Parliament has the same access to food,” she said.
Before she came to Brussels as an MEP this year, Spurek, a lawyer, was Polands deputy ombudswoman. She entered politics in March and ran her campaign making pledges about human rights, environmental protection and animal welfare.
She said the European Parliament should be “crystal-clear” and practice what it preaches. “We talk about how the animal-based [food] production causes the climate disaster, and at the same time in restaurants and bars in the European Parliament we offer almost only the animal-originated products. Theres a lack of consistency between the values declared by us, by the EU, and what we do,” she said.
The area around the European Parliament in Strasbourg is short on vegan dining options | Patrick Hertzog/AFP via Getty Images
A Parliament spokesperson said that Spureks questions will be “duly answered” but they also stressed that catering services have improved significantly in recent years and ensure “incorporation of sustainability, ecology and fair-trade aspects in the daily catering offers.”
“A special attention goes to the presence of fruit, vegetables and legumes … in buffet to compose a personal portion,” the spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said he did not imagine the bloc would advise Europeans to eat less meat in order to combat climate change.
Hogan, nominated to be the EUs next trade chief, said: “I dont imagine a recommendation at EU level in that sense.”
Speaking after a meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Finland, he replied to a journalists question about a report by the U.N.s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which pointed at agriculture as a major driver of climate change by defending the health benefits of eating meat.
After raising the issue of the lack of vegan food on social media, Spurek was flooded by a wave of negative comments claiming that lRead More – Source